Highest level of vaccines administered last week, says HSE chief

Almost 350,000 doses were given and a strong week ahead is predicted due to supply

The number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered last week reached a record level of 350,000.

In a Twitter post on Monday morning, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said "Last week we administered our highest level of vaccinations to date at almost 350,000."

“In 4 of the past 7 days we administered over 54,000,” he said.

Almost 110,000 of the vaccine doses administered were a 2nd dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Mr Reid.

The HSE chief predicted “another strong week ahead based on supplies.”

Meanwhile, the director of public health for the HSE south east, Dr Carmel Mullaney has expressed concern about the risk of the spread of Covid-19 with the reopening of the indoor hospitality sector while half of the population was still not vaccinated.

There was a concern that a large proportion of those aged 50-60 were still not fully vaccinated, Dr Mullaney said, adding she would rather see more people vaccinated before reopening.

"There is an inherent risk in people dining and drinking in close quarters. When we move indoors, that risk is even higher," she told RTÉ radio's Today with Claire Byrne show.

The risk was even higher when there was alcohol involved, as people would push tables together, they intermingled and there was a risk of a superspreader event, she added.

“As a public health doctor, we’d be apprehensive about indoor hospitality.”

Dr Mullaney said the rate of Covid-19 cases was increasing every day in Waterford, where a pop-up Covid testing centre has been established as a result. Outbreaks where there was a possibility of the Delta variant being involved were also occurring, she said.

On the same programme, infectious disease expert, Professor Sam McConkey said he would like to see a cautious and slow reopening of the hospitality sector on July 5th. The question was how much of a risk people were willing to accept.

Going on the modelling figures, there could be 200,000 to 400,000 Delta cases with a mortality rate of one per thousand which would mean 200 to 400 deaths, he said.

Prof McConkey said that because of the level of vaccination to date, the situation was already “ten fold better” than during the third wave in January.

If there was a Delta surge it would not be anything like the third wave, he said. The basic health service would not be as impacted, and the younger demographic would not be as much at risk, so hospitalisations would be very low.

However, Prof McConkey was concerned about international travel as there was a risk in the future of a variant immune to vaccination that could come into the country and that would be “very bad.”